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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

i94        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

gulf between the world in which he lived and that of the ancients
for misgivings to arise on this score.   The difficulty was rather
that without knowing it he was really indifferent to much of their
content, and that yet he had to find ways and means of making
them aids to pious living.   That could only be done by insisting
on everything in them which was directly or indirectly edifying;
and this practice as a matter of course led to the subordination
of the sesthetic aspects of literary study to the moral, and robbed
the classics of much of their proper worth.   But the mischief
did not end there.   The indifference to content other than that
which could be turned by some artifice into a means of moral
profit inevitably caused an undue value to be attached to formal
excellence.   The tendency in this direction, it is true, is not
very marked in Melanchthon, but it is there.   As compared with
Erasmus, with whom he had much in common in his views of
language teaching, he puts far greater stress on the mastery of
grammar and prosody.  That is evident in those school ordinances
to which reference has already been made, and again in various
letters written to schoolboys and youths about their studies.
Perhaps the clearest expression of his views in this matter is to
be found in the fine inaugural address he delivered at the opening
of the high school at Nuremberg in 1526.   " The truths of religion
and moral duty," he declared, " cannot be rightly perceived
except by minds squndly prepared by a training based on the
practice of past ages.   Upon the parents, and therefore upon the
community, falls the common obligation of the education of the
youth of your city.   In the first place, they must take care that
religion be taught, and this implies as a necessary condition
sound instruction in letters.  In the next place, social security and
respect for the laws demand like training.   The civic council of
Nuremberg has had regard to both in their new foundation.
Grammar schools already exist for teaching the elements of Latin
and will be modified to serve for the preparatory training of
pupils destined to pass to the high school.   The distinction
between the two grades of school has been determined in order
that pupils shall not pass to more advanced subjects until they are
fit for them.   A secure mastery of grammar, and that alone,
qualifies the pupil for conversation, construing and composition
in the Latin tongue.  The Latin school, however, will not ignore
approved authors, amongst whom Erasmus, Terence, Plautus,